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  • Verb




My mother is considered the top baker in our family, but when Aunt Sully visits she gainsays that widely held opinion by denying that Mom is the best. During a cake-baking contest, Sully gainsaid or went against the judge’s decision that Mom’s chocolate torte was the winner: Sully vocally voted for her own almond mousse cake instead. Unfortunately, my aunt embarrassed my mother by gainsaying or opposing the prize in front of everyone.

Quiz: What does it mean to gainsay something?

  • To publicly make fun of it.
  • To compete against it.
  • To say that it isn’t true.

Memory Hook

Gains? Aye! Who would gainsay saying Aye! to soaring stock gains?


  • Greatness is great power, producing great effects. It is not enough that a man has great power in himself, he must shew it to all the world in a way that cannot be hid or gainsaid. — William Hazlitt William hazlitt
  • The absence of a democratic mandate means that health authorities can not easily gainsay the public’s preferences for access over outcomes or its rejection of other criteria used by professionals to support decision making. —BNET
  • Who can gainsay British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has made aid to Africa a centerpiece of the G8 summit of industrial powers this week, when he calls Africa a scar on the world’s conscience? —Newsweek
  • Raymond Hitchcock, although it is conceded that there would be none to gainsay him if he chose to exercise the powers of autocracy. —The New York Times

Word Ingredients

gain against
say say

When you gainsay someone’s opinion, you “say” something “against” it.

Word Constellation